3 Tips to Optimize Your E-commerce Returns Process

Jul 20, 2023
Chai NadigFounder, CTO

Returns are a crucial yet often frustrating and expensive aspect of e-commerce. Here are 3 simple ways to turn the tide and make the returns process efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.


Returns are a crucial yet often frustrating and expensive aspect of any e-commerce business, and can become a significant drain on a company’s resources. Not only do returns cost money, but they also have a detrimental impact on the environment. It's disheartening to think about how many perfectly usable items end up in landfills when there are other, better options.

E-comm companies can reduce their returns by following a few simple tips. Still, there's an even simpler way to turn the tide and make the inevitable returns process more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly—all while helping nonprofits serve communities across the country.

1. Prioritize Accurate Product Descriptions

Before even thinking about returns, e-comm businesses should ensure their product descriptions match the product. One of the main reasons for returns is customer dissatisfaction with the product received. To minimize returns, be sure to provide detailed and accurate information about your products, including dimensions, materials, size abnormalities, and any potential limitations. Use high-quality images that accurately represent the product. By setting realistic expectations, you reduce the chances of customers receiving items that don't meet their needs.

2. Streamline Your E-commerce Returns Process

Even with accurate product descriptions, it’s seemingly impossible for e-commerce brands to avoid bracketing. Bracketing is when online shoppers purchase multiple versions of the same product (usually clothing) with the intention of returning the items that don’t work for them. It’s basically a way more environmentally unfriendly version of taking multiple sizes and cuts of the same pair of jeans in the dressing room—instead the dressing room is across the country. With a spike in bracketing beginning during the early months of the pandemic, retailers are forced to make their returns process as simple as possible.

A complex and convoluted e-commerce returns process can frustrate customers, even among those who knew they’d return most items. Start by making your return policy clear and easily accessible on your website. Provide detailed instructions on how to initiate a return and the required steps to follow. Create a seamless user experience that allows customers to initiate and track their returns effortlessly. By streamlining your returns process, you create a positive experience for your customers, reducing the chances of them abandoning the return and seeking an alternative, less sustainable solution.

3. Offer Flexible E-commerce Return Options, Including Easy Donation

One of the best ways of simplifying is by offering flexibility. By offering multiple return options, you empower customers to choose the most convenient way to return an item—but traditionally, the most convenient option hasn’t been the most eco-friendly option. LiquiDonate makes donating the easiest and most eco-friendly method for customer returns.

Instead of retailers coordinating complex returns, warehouses managing space for returns, and businesses overall spending more money than they may make on an item, LiquiDonate offers a simple solution that allows online retailers to donate their customer returns to nonprofits directly from their customers.

LiquiDonate also reduces return fraud by enabling retailers to issue refunds after an item is donated to a nonprofit, providing a sustainable alternative to asking the customer to keep the item. Not only does this reduce waste, but it also allows your business to make a positive social impact by supporting nonprofits. And customers will love knowing that you gave them the easy option of donating their items to nonprofits in need.

Want to learn more about how LiquiDonate can help retailers find homes for their returns and excess items while saving money and building customer loyalty? Book a demo to see how simple it is.


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